Councillor’s anti-racism motion passed by Pickering Council

Systemic racism exists in Canada and each of us is responsible for its obliteration. There is no room for racism in Canada in any form, religious, cultural, gender or appearance. Councillor Shaheen Butt is a Muslim who has lived in Canada for many years. Imagine an immigrant of a visible minority community rising to the level of becoming a municipal councillor. Recently, Councillor Butt proposed a motion at the city council seeking to eradicate the systemic racism that exists in Canada and in Pickering as part of that larger community.  The motion passed unanimously. A similar motion was attempted federally. It failed.

Councillor Butt explains his motion, his concerns and his worries about racism in Canada in the following:


It is very unfortunate that a motion on this matter has to be heard. However, recent events in places in Canada have made it necessary that such a motion be considered.

Hate is a powerful word that has only one meaning. “Intense or passionate dislike for someone”.

How does someone get to that point where their dislike for someone’s appearance or beliefs can trigger them to do unimaginable crimes?

It is frightening, and many communities feel afraid and vulnerable. Whether it is the Black community, Indigenous, Asian, the Muslim community, LGTB community, they are all feeling the effects of what happened in London Ontario and Edmonton, Alberta where the victims were targeted because they were different.

And these incidences continue to happen. The Edmonton incident saw two Muslim women were attacked because they were wearing a Hijab, as well as in Saskatchewan where the Muslim community was targeted again.

Racism exists, and this is why we have to acknowledge that there is a problem and it is systemic whether we like that or not, we have to name it and document it so that we can start the process of eliminating hate from the top down.

Canada is a country that welcomes immigrants. Every wave of immigrants contributes to improving this country. Any amount of hate and/or discrimination directed towards any group impacts negatively on the racialized community and impedes their participation in the development of the country.

Pickering has a diverse community, where we work, play and respect each other. These differences make our country the best place to live. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, and I have faith that we can eliminate racism in all its forms if we work together.

Shaheen Butt
City Councillor

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